Rep. Harman and bribery

I don’t really have much more to add about this, check the blogroll on the side of the page for more insight. But it’s an important story:

Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.

Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

So basically, Rep. Harman (a Democrat) took a bribe to use her stature and position as a Representative to the US Congress to lobby for the interests of another nation. Great. A real patriotic, ethical citizen, doing good for America in her hallowed halls of democracy.

But not to be outdone in the subversion of justice, former Attorney General 

Gonzales wanted Harman to be able to help defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times and engulf the White House.

So he “intervened,” and told CIA Director Porter Goss that

he “needed Jane” to help support the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about to be exposed by the New York Times.

Harman did as expected, and used her stature as a higher-up member of the House Intelligence Committee (and a member of the opposition party) to attack the Times for exposing and editorializing on the illegal wiretapping program. Greenwald points out that Harman probably didn’t have any sort of deal with Gonzales to do so, but Gonzales wanted her reputation intact because she was, indeed, a Democrat who supported Bush’s warrentless wiretapping scheme. 

Harman has vociferously denied all of this; we’ll see how it pans out.


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